Objectives: We sought to evaluate the association between obesity and response to anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) agents, through a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: Through a systematic search through January 24, 2017, we identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or observational studies in adults with select immune-mediated inflammatory diseases-inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthropathies (SpA), psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA)-treated with anti-TNF agents, and reporting outcomes, stratified by body mass index (BMI) categories or weight. Primary outcome was failure to achieve clinical remission or response or treatment modification. We performed random effects meta-analysis and estimated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results: Based on 54 cohorts including 19,372 patients (23% obese), patients with obesity had 60% higher odds of failing therapy (OR,1.60; 95% CI,1.39-1.83;I2 = 71%). Dose-response relationship was observed (obese vs. normal BMI: OR,1.87 [1.39-2.52]; overweight vs. normal BMI: OR,1.38 [1.11-1.74],p = 0.11); a 1kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with 6.5% higher odds of failure (OR,1.065 [1.043-1.087]). These effects were observed across patients with rheumatic diseases, but not observed in patients with IBD. Effect was consistent based on dosing regimen/route, study design, exposure definition, and outcome measures. Less than 10% eligible RCTs reported outcomes stratified by BMI.
Conclusions: Obesity is an under-reported predictor of inferior response to anti-TNF agents in patients with select immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. A thorough evaluation of obesity as an effect modifier in clinical trials is warranted, and intentional weight loss may serve as adjunctive treatment in patients with obesity failing anti-TNF therapy.